Location: Scholomance, Western Plaguelands
Back when I lived in Santa Fe, New Mexico (Never again. NEVER. AGAIN.), there was a school there called School for the Deaf. One day, when I was driving around with my family, my sister saw the sign but the “F” in deaf was blocked by a tree. So she went with her first instinct and said “A school for the dead?” We all had a nice chuckle about that, and I still remember that story every time I wander down into the eerie depths of Scholomance. Namely because from the various images and design choices throughout the place, you have to wonder exactly who this school catered to? Lore dictates that it was a school for up and coming Necromancers, but exactly at what age did these Necromancers start their training? Namely because I stumbled upon a room where I found the strangest group of skeletons, that appear to be playing ‘Duck duck goose’.
I suppose that’s saying something about a place full of undead spider people, fully animated skeletons, and horrible disfigured creatures. But I do find it very odd that they would just be sitting there in that formation. Were they once alive? Did they sit and play duck duck goose until they died? Kind of makes Sisyphus look dignified, “I may have to roll this rock up a hill for all time, but at least I don’t have to play duck duck goose!” How do you get into that arrangement? I imagine they either really liked playing it, or it was some sort of punishment. Considering how incredibly annoying the fight with Darkmaster Gandling is, I’m willing to not rule out Duck Duck Goose as a punishment he’d use.
Granted, I’m overlooking the more obvious Hey-Vrykerion-We’re-Not-Grade-School-Anymore-Ya-Putz idea here, which is that it’s a study group. Granted, I’ve been to many a study group and I’ve never seen one sit in a perfect circle. That just might have been my school. I’m sure somewhere, when high school or college kids study, they sit in a circle. So I suppose the gag is they studied to death? What a predictable punchline. Seriously. That jokes been muttered in study sessions since at least my grandparents were in school. I mean the fact that they studied Necromancy ill they died is kinda fun. You have to imagine Ras Frostwhisper stumbling upon the skeletons and just facepalming. Well, the best attempt a Lich can make at facepalming. What with no real palm. No flesh, ya know.
I’m overlooking the most glaring issue here: They are nothing but bones, but are sitting upright. They don’t even lean or fall down. I supposed in a dungeon full of skeletons that run around and try to stab you with swords, this isn’t that strange. Except these skeletons don’t move. They just sit there. Like some weird sculpture. So I can’t really tell if they are supposed to be dead or undead. It’s kind of like the skeletons in Conan the Barbarian. Sitting on their skeleton horses, never collapsing or wilting, it’s kind of weird how they defy physics like that. That’s how these skeletons feel. Even in an instance crawling with undead, these seem out-of-place. I could probably come up with dozens more reasons why they’re just sitting there (Skeleton Break Room, How do you play telephone without ears?, some kind of undead drinking game) but in the end I would imagine it’s probably a prank by the skeleton reanimators in the next room. Their equivalent to carving their name into the desk, or sticking gum under the table.
I still prefer to think of them as playing duck duck goose. It’s the most out-of-place thing possible for the dreary halls of Scholomance, and it’s always the first thing that pops into my head. Just try to picture a group of skeletons sitting around playing games we played in Kindergarten. After all, Scholomance is a school – Shouldn’t they have gym class? The zombies are always getting picked last for dodgeball, the skeletons laugh at the abominations because they have a hard time doing sit ups, and Lich goes back to his office to drink away the memories of another wasted day. What? Am I the only one who had a P.E. Teacher who was on a first name basis with Mr. Jack Daniels?